You probably don’t need to read through the long list of Steve Nash’s accomplishments to realize he’s going to go down in history as one of the NBA’s greatest ever players. However, is it the right time for the Phoenix Suns to say goodbye to the 37-year-old and turn the page to the franchise’s next chapter. It’s hard to say goodbye to a living legend, especially one who’s still contributing to the team and handles himself in such a professional manner.
The Suns are basically the best NBA team to never win a championship and this isn’t something club owners, players, coaches, and fans want to be known for. The Suns, who entered the league back in 1968, have the fourth-best winning percentage of all time. They’ve made the playoffs 29 times and had 19 seasons with at least 50 wins.
They’ve also made the Western Conference Finals nine times and made it as far as the NBA Finals twice, back in 1976 and again in 1993, but they’ve never won anything and it’s been close to two decades since their last kick at the can in the Finals. For such a good team, the Suns haven’t really fared too well in the postseason over the years. Perhaps calling them chokers is a bit harsh, but what else is suitable?
Nash is the face of the franchise in Phoenix, and obviously one of the team’s top attractions when it comes to putting fans in the seats. There are a few options when it comes to dealing with him though. You can ship him off to a top contender, hoping he’ll get a shot at a championship. You can trade him if the right deal comes along to improve the club, no matter who he’s dealt to, and you can hang onto him and hope things improve in Phoenix.
The club didn’t cave in to Amar’e Stoudemire’s contract demands and his loss has hurt the basketball team more than imagined. The problem is, when Stoudemire took off, the Suns didn’t really have a backup plan in place. In fact they’ve made quite a few mistakes over the past few years with some questionable player moves and it looks like they’ve dug themselves a sizeable hole that’s going to be hard to dig out of.
General managers, coaches, and all-star players have come and gone in Phoenix, and Nash has had to spearhead a new starting lineup just about every season over the last half-dozen years. But Nash is fine with that. He isn’t bothered by the high turnover and inconsistency and has made it clear that he wants to stay in Phoenix and the club wants to keep him.
So what would trading Nash actually solve? Here’s a player who’s given everything he has to the team and community. If he’s traded are the Suns going to be any better on the court? As long as he wants to stay with the Suns, it’s highly unlikely he’s going to be dealt. In fact, he might even retire before donning the uniform of another team.
Nash says he doesn’t mind playing for a team that’s rebuilding, but he could change his mind after another season without postseason action. The likeliest scenario sees Nash playing out the last year of his contract next season in Phoenix, and if it looks like the Suns are going to miss the playoffs again he’ll agree to a trade before the deadline. It’s doubtful he’ll leave as a free agent at the end of the year, with the Suns getting nothing in return.